Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Economists blast Florida sales tax holidays as gimmick with little benefit
The Legislature last month unanimously approved $1.1 billion in tax breaks over the next two years that lawmakers say are aimed at easing the tax burden on average Floridians. But economists across the board debunk them as politically popular, feel-good gimmicks that sidestep meaningful and lasting tax reform and provide negligible relief or savings. Included are the popular back-to-school and hurricane prep holidays, extended to two weeks, as well as a return of the break on recreational items such as swimming pool fun noodles called “Freedom Week” starting July 1, first introduced last year, and a weeklong “tool time” tax holiday in September. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
With low unemployment rate, Brevard employers struggle to fill job openings
With an unemployment rate down to 2.9% in Brevard County, job-seekers are finding lots of options to choose from. But employers are struggling to fill openings in a number of job sectors — from health care and high-tech, to retail and restaurants. Brevard's jobless rate is lower than the statewide rate of 3.3% and the national rate of 3.8% for February, the latest-available figure. More from Florida Today.
Jacksonville's convention comeback
Just a few months into the slow return to life as it was before the coronavirus pandemic, Jacksonville hotels are returning to a level of business not seen for more than two years. Weekend leisure travel is putting Duval County at the front of the trend. In February, hotel room occupancy was 75.1% and room revenue was $40.5 million, the highest on record for the second month of the year. When the final numbers are tabulated, March occupancy and revenue are expected to surpass February and set a record. More from the Jacksonville Daily Record.
Manatee feeding efforts could resume next winter
State and federal wildlife officials anticipate they might again have to provide lettuce to manatees gathering in Florida waters next winter. However, as manatees continue dying at a higher-than-normal pace, officials hope to stop the unique trial feeding program before it becomes a long-term solution or the sea cows become dependent on it. “Moving into the summer, we are going to be reviewing our response efforts over the past season and the last year,” Andy Garrett, manatee rescue coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said. More from the News Service of Florida.
Clearwater’s MarineMax acquires French superyacht management firm
MarineMax is expanding its superyacht business, and is crossing the Atlantic to do so. The Clearwater boat retail giant announced this week that it has acquired French firm Superyacht Management, S.A.R.L., better known as SYM, through its Northrop & Johnston subsidiary. The move will expand the reach and offerings of Northrop & Johnson, a superyacht services firm acquired by MarineMax in 2020. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Get top news-to-know with Florida Trend's headline-focused video news brief, hosted by digital content specialist Aimée Alexander.
Peter Warhurst is out to reinvent moving and storage again
At 69, Pete Warhurst is trying to one-up Pete Warhurst. Warhurst founded PODS, the portable storage behemoth that upended the self-storage and moving industry and grew into a multinational powerhouse. He ran it for 10 years and sold it in 2007 for $430 million to a private equity firm. With his new venture, Red Rover, Warhurst is trying to remake the industry a second time and fix everything he feels he didn’t get right the first.
» Read more from Florida Trend.
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